By Cliff Rold
Sometimes, it’s just not there anymore.
Juan Manuel Lopez might have lost to Mikey Garcia on the best day of his career. His flaws as a fighter have been dramatically apparent since at least an unexpected war with Rogers Mtagwa. That said, there is a difference between flawed and finished.
Lopez appeared the latter on Saturday.
Let’s go to the report card.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Garcia B; Lopez B/Post: B; C+
Pre-Fight: Power – Garcia B+; Lopez B+/Post: B+; B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Garcia B; Lopez C-/Post: B; D
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Garcia B+; Lopez C+/Post: B+; C
There might be some who point to Garcia not squeezing all the way to 126 as having an impact on the outcome. Sometimes, that might be valid.
Anyone who has seen Lopez since the second loss to Orlando Salido and again on Saturday should think otherwise. Lopez against Garcia had little snap on his shots and his reflexes were dull. Sometimes, it was like he was fighting through mud; sluggish.
It’s been seen before. Matched right, he can still make good fights but he’s at the point where he is target practice for upper level guys. Talks of matching him with Nonito Donaire, who has yet to not bring his punch with him up various spots on the scale, seem cruel.
None of this excuses Garcia for missing weight. While he tried, it’s part of the job description and he basically admitted that an illness of some sort a week out from the fight threw him off course. He went forward anyways. He’s the hot hand. He can do that and the punishment is what?
He’ll make more as he goes forward with the “0.” If boxing had any sort of structure, this could be enforced against but it doesn’t. At the least, Garcia is as worthy of the grief hoisted on other weight missing guys like Adrien Broner in recent vintage. It’s hypocrisy to let him off the hook where others eat a mountain of garbage.
Of course, the best medicine for his career is to just keep going. The sharp shooter is clearly very good, and getting better. What he lacks, so far, is a truly spectacular opponent. Salido was a good start, but he’s supposed to lose to better guys. He usually has. Lopez is more name than game.
A trip to 130 might open new avenues to impress. Talk about Rocky Martinez makes good business sense but Martinez is hardly the class of the division. In a better world, Garcia could be matched with Japan’s Takashi Uchiyama in what would be a truly intriguing, pick ‘em affair. At the least, we can hope for the mercurial but talented Argenis Mendez. Martinez won’t be a bad start, if that’s where things go.
But it’s only a start.
Report Card Picks 2013: 26-15
Featherweight: Garcia remains where he was despite missing weight. Time will tell, soon, where he settles on the scale going forward. Lopez, who appears a shell of himself, exits off his third bad stoppage loss in six fights.
Strawweight: Hekkie Budler gets a bump off his career best win over Nkosinathi Joyi.
The full results of note, more moves, and the total impact on the ratings are a click away.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org